Thursday 28 April 2016 12:01 am

Discount high street chain launched by Christo Wiese and ex-Asda boss Andy Bond plots more store openings

Pep&Co, a discount variety chain launched last year by former Asda boss Andy Bond and Christo Wiese, the South African retail magnate, has announced plans to roll-out more stores this autumn after opening 50 sites in just over 50 days last summer. 

Wiese already snapped up discount chain New Look through his investment vehicle Brait in 2014. However, not content with just one chain, the 74 year-old billionaire set out with Bond, and his business partner Mark Elliott, to create a store that brought supermarket prices to the high street and launched Pep & Co last year. 

It now plans to launch 10 to 15 more stores from September on so-called secondary high streets across the UK. Its existing stores are located in towns including Bolton, Hull, Paisley, and Kettering. 

Pep&Co's high street debut couldn't come at a tougher time for the sector, with BHS and Austin Reed both collapsing into administration this week, retailers struggling with higher business rate and wage costs, and industry retail sales figures showing a further slowdown last month. 

However chief executive Adrian Mountford, who previously worked at BHS, Matalan and Sainsbury’s where he was business unit director for the Tu fashion brand, said he was "stone-cold certain" there was demand for its value schoolwear and fashion on the high street.

“We’ve adapted and improved our offer over the past few months to reflect what customers tell us they want from us. We’re stone-cold certain we have the opportunity to now build a very strong business, giving customers close-to-home access to low priced, great quality fashion.”